January 3, 2012

In this issue…

People on the Move

Guest Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

Guest Services

Back Office

Inventory / Purchasing

Engineering

DECEMBER 14, 2011 – JANUARY 3, 2012

TOP O’ THE NEWS

    • Technology Review of 2011

Well, it wasn’t the year we’d hoped for; initial optimism that we were at last coming out of the recession was replaced by reminders that there was still a long way to go. Nevertheless, many properties took advantage of slow business to upgrade their systems and lay the foundations for more efficient operations once traffic does return, and equally as many vendors enhanced their systems for greater integration and flexibility.
The importance of IT innovation in the hospitality world was recognized once again by InformationWeek’s listing of the U.S.’s 500 most innovative business technology users, which included seven hospitality companies in the top 250. The highest-ranking hospitality company honored this year was Vail Resorts at #10, whose EpicMix Web and smart-phone application appropriately highlighted the integration of guest service with mobile technology.

The year of mobile technology

It was definitely the year mobile devices of all types became mainstream, along with a growing integration of social media sites into more traditional hotel systems. IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) released iPhone booking apps for each of its seven brands, launched 120 free iPad Concierge Insider Guides and reported a nearly 1,000 percent increase in room night bookings from mobile devices. MGM released Android versions of 12 hotel applications for booking rooms and activities, and Motel 6 released an app for Apple devices. Genares and InnLink released mobile booking engines, Expedia announced an app for the iPhone and iPod Touch, and RIM released a BlackBerry Travel app integrating itineraries, profiles and flight status updates into BlackBerry Calendar.
To help international travelers, FCS’ i-Guest Hotels Finder app played recordings of directions to a hotel in the local language for lost guests to play back to taxi drivers, and Marriott offered its mobile app for Apple and Android devices in Chinese, Spanish, German and French. RateTiger released a Blackberry version of its revenue management RTSuite, and Alloso Technologies ported its hospitality business intelligence app to the iPad.
Bringing social media into the mix, Availpro released a Facebook booking engine and RateTiger used Cultuzz Digital Media’s CultBay to post hotel availability on eBay. Sabre’s SocialConversion product suite helped hotels maximize their social media presence; Appnostic and Genares integrated their hotel booking apps with Facebook, and Regatta Travel Solutions launched a Facebook booking engine tool for Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs). VFM Leonardo released a Mobile Media Player for its VBrochure, formatting hotel photos, virtual tours, videos and marketing copy for mobile devices.
Protel introduced an iPad “bookatonce” version of its GMS and released its Voyager browser-based mobile app for Apple, Android or BlackBerry. ResortSuite released ResortSuite MOBILE; Resort Data Processing (RDP) announced four new mobile modules. Fuel Interactive’s Guestdesk Mobile Booking Software added mobile booking of tee-times and other activities, as did Open Hospitality for food and beverage, special amenities, event tickets, flowers and other add-ons. W Hotels unveiled an iPhone app that lets guests order room service and request other services, in addition to booking guestrooms; Crave Interactive’s GuestService+ in-room application included food and drink ordering for Room Service or in Hotel restaurants.
POS wasn’t left out; Agilysys released InfoGenesis Roam mobile POS software for the iPod, and Squirrel put its Professional POS system onto Apple iPads. MICROS integrated Tabbedout into its POS systems, allowing guests to pay restaurant and bar tabs with their smartphones. All in all, look for mobile F&B ordering to become much more common in this coming year.
On the guest services side, Acentic’s mobile versions of its high-speed Internet and iTV services platform allowed users to check a hotel’s offering of movies or other services from their own phones and to use them as TV remote controls. Intelity released ICE Mobile for Android, and TAC developed a phone-based loyalty card app. Starwood offered FaceTime video calling for loyalty-club members to contact customer service agents, and GoConcierge released native iPad and iPhone versions of its system. MTech released an Android app for H2GO, its mobile version of HotSOS, and hotel SystemsPro released its hotel ServicePro asset management system for the iPad. Adaco extended procurement system to iPads and touch-screens.
Conference/event software also went mobile. Passkey’s GroupMAX used OneClick Mobile to generate customized mobile sites for events, and released a widget to embed availability on event websites and social networks. QuickMobile launched MobileEvent Express Edition, an iPhone app for meetings and events. StarCite’s Mobile Attendee tool delivered key information (including agendas, logistics, maps and news alerts) directly to meeting attendees’ mobile phones and devices; Swank Audio Visuals released its SwankDraw iPad-based room layout application. Intriguingly, The Knowland Group’s SmartPhone Leads, a location-aware augmented reality app, lets hotel sales teams focus their smartphone cameras on a hotel and see on-screen pop-up bubbles showing groups that have held meetings or stayed there, with contact data.
Speaking of cross-system integration, OTRUM launched its Enterprise portal, combining check-in information with details from a hotel’s CRM database to profile guests as to type, gender, age, language and home country, thereby letting the hotel send customized communications, advertising, service offerings and price points to each individual guestroom TV. MConcierge Systems rolled out a Guest Relationship Management system that links hotel profiles with guests’ social media profiles and rewards guests using the hotel’s mobile application for every activity performed using it, with loyalty points for immediate on-premise redemption.
And if all that wasn’t enough, Marriott even released a hotel-themed online game (My Marriott Hotel) and InterContinental released a Kitchen Cookbook iPad app of its hotels’ recipes. Where will it all end?

Guest Management Systems

The new breed of GMSs all made progress this year. Agilysys’ Guest 360 officially came out of beta with installations at the Gotham Hotel and two GrandLife Hotels, all in New York City. Infor-SoftBrands’ HMS found its first customers in the Larkspur Landing Hotel in Hillsboro, Oregon and the Fitzpatrick Hotel Group’s two hotels in New York. Dynamique Hôtels Management (DHM), with 150 properties, became the first customer for Amadeus’ new centralized Hotel Platform, which combines central reservation, global distribution and guest management systems. PAR Springer-Miller launched its ATRIO system with a strikingly new visual approach in its user interface, and Stoney Creek Inns was the launch customer for the first module of MICROS’ new OPERA 9 suite, channel management.
Central hosting of management systems continues to grow in popularity, for all the usual reasons of greater data consistency, system security and ease of reporting. Germany’s Rilano Group installed SoftBrands’ Starlight for all five locations, AC Hotels by Marriott picked MICROS’ centrally-hosted OPERA and Simphony POS for 91 properties, as did Cedar Point Amusement Park for its six hotels. Joie de Vivre added MICROS OPERA Customer Information System, Business Intelligence and Sales Force Automation to its already-centralized implementation of OPERA, and Orient-Express Hotels picked MICROS’ OPERA and POS systems for its 49 properties. Hospitality International named SKYWARE its preferred GMS for all 300 franchise properties, and Jebel Ali International Hotels installed protel MPE at all five sites.

Cloud Computing

After the massive hype of the last couple of years, true cloud computing settled in as a viable architecture for specific needs, although some costing issues still need to be ironed out. EZYield upgraded its infrastructure to run on a 40-gigabit InfiniBand network and Amazon’s Cloud, and OTRUM moved all of its Digital Signage services to IBM’s SmartCloud Enterprise. Online travel network TravelShark (née Swiftrank) moved to Amazon’s Web Services (AWS) cloud platform. Libra OnDemand expanded the functionality of its Force.com cloud-based CRM/Hospitality Management System significantly, and Dolce Hotels and Resorts implemented it across all 27 properties.

Guest Reviews

Guest reviews and feedback continued to have high importance. GetThere, with its Hotel Traveler Reviews, let corporate travelers share online hotel reviews, and Starwood launched its own online review function. Lodging Interactive extended its Guest Review System to let hotels collect and share guest reviews directly from their Facebook pages. Whiteboard Labs used FeedMagnet’s social curation technology to power Telltales, allowing hotels to integrate content from social channels into their websites and marketing programs.  RateGain launched its BrandGain guest satisfaction and online reputation management system to consolidate and analyze feedback, and, to try to keep things honest, researchers at Cornell University developed software claimed to be able to identify fake hotel reviews by their linguistic structure.

CRS

Google got serious about the hotel market with the launch of its Hotel Finder search tool, a rival to several meta-search engines, but the traditional CRS vendors saw strong growth as well. Regent Hotels & Resorts properties and Vantage Hospitality Group switched to Sabre’s SynXis, and Castle Resorts & Hotels (25 properties) and Kosmopolito Hotels International (22 hotels) went with TravelCLICK. Destinations of the World joined Amadeus and took it past the 100,000 property mark. Orient-Express Hotels picked Pegasus’ RezView NG for 40 properties, and relative newcomer Whiteboard Labs picked up Centerstone Inns, Hotels and Plaza Hotels for its Windsurfer CRS, along with a number of independent properties.

Revenue management

Revenue management showed strong growth, as properties not only expanded their use of it but began integrating it into more of their guest management and marketing operations. EZYield had a strong year, picking up Swiss-Belhotel International (20 properties), Fairmont/Raffles (100+ hotels), N. Daskalantonakis Group (30 Grecotel Resorts and Classical Hotels), Lindner Hotels (34 properties) and developing an interface with Passkey for conference rooms booking. IDeaS integrated with RateGain’s ChannelGain and PriceGain as well as SiteMinder’s Channel Manager, and gained Dusit International (13 properties), Scandic Hotels (chain-wide) and Anantara (15 hotels). Toga Hospitality installed EzRMS in fifty properties, Guoman Hotel Management in another 37 and Brazil Hospitality Group in 20.
RateTiger launched RTSuite Content to distribute and manage marketing content centrally, Brook Hotels implemented its RTSuite channel manager at 12 locations and NH Hoteles adopted RTConnect for all 400 properties. China’s New Century Hotels & Resorts picked RateGain’s ChannelGain for 14 properties, PROS built Lixto’s competitive price data into its price optimization software, and Best Western International adopted Lixto for all 4,000 properties. TravelClick added over 200 Hotelligence360 clients in Europe in two months alone, in July/August.

RFID

RFID seems finally to have become a mainstream technology, especially for guestroom door locks in all sizes of property. VingCard’s Signature RFID locks were adopted by Starwood’s Aloft flag, the 500-room Royal Palm Plaza in Campinas, Brazil, the Holiday Inn City of Knowledge, Panama City and Kyriad Marseille Centre-Rabatou in Marseille, France, two Starwood properties in Greece and, brand-wide, by Mexico’s first extended-stay brand ExtendedSuites. KABA’s Saflok RFID locks were installed by the Peabody Orlando (1,641 rooms), the Holiday Inn Knoxville, Hotel Harrington in Washington, DC and Howard Johnson Admiral Inn on Tybee Island, the Comfort Hotel Xpress in Oslo, Norway (with OpenWays acoustic couplers built in), the YOTEL New York (669 rooms) and the 70-room Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge.
Peninsula Hotels is replacing the guestroom door locks in all properties with Saflok RFID units, and is reported to be looking at much wider use of RFID for guest services. Looking further ahead, ASSA ABLOY introduced its Mobile Keys Platform for the NFC (Near Field Communication) mobile phones as they come into more widespread use, and partnered with RIM to develop NFC-enabled door key software for Blackberry phones. Outside of locking systems, InvoTech’s UHF-RFID version of its GIMS uniform and linen tracking system gained several new orders as its viability and cost-savings became apparent.

Multiple-property orders

Many chains extended a single-system philosophy by placing chain-wide orders for all types of application. Roadchef rolled out Guestline’s suite at 14 properties across UK, Richfield implemented ProfitSage Financial Business Intelligence throughout its portfolio of 500 hotels, SKY Hospitality selected Aptech’s Execuvue business intelligence system for nine Microtel Hotels, and Ameristar Casinos picked Teradata Data Mart Appliances for its seven casinos. Royal Caribbean selected InfoGenesis for additional seven ships, and Resort Collection of Panama City Beach picked Springer-Miller for six condo properties. The Trump Hotel Collection standardized on MICROS’ OPERA and Newmarket’s Delphi MPE across all seven properties, and Lindner Hotels and Resorts moved 32 properties on OPERA and myfidelio.net to MICROS’ Data Center. Lane Hospitality implemented hotel ServicePro across 19 properties and Loews migrated all 18 properties to MTech’s HotSOS.

M&A

It was an unusually active year for mergers and acquisitions. Sabre Holdings acquired GMS vendor SoftHotel and its 4,500-strong client base, NCR took over Radiant Systems, Infor picked up Lawson Software, Newmarket acquired both MTech and Libra OnDemand, and RTP was taken over by The Active Network. GMS vendors AutoClerk and Bay Lakes Information Systems merged, as did InnPoints Worldwide and CARINO Hotels and Resorts to form Centric Hospitality.
EZYield was acquired by TravelClick, which also took over Rubicon. PAETEC acquired XETA Technologies. Passkey International gained UK-based Velvet Software, and Safemark Systems acquired Best Lockers. Xn Group sold its Leisure Systems subsidiary to Jonas Computing, and Philips transferred its television business to a joint venture set up with TPV Technology. Web developers were in demand; Pegasus took over Open Hospitality, Cendyn acquired RoundTableHQ, eRevMax acquired Lunar Logic Polska and TripAdvisor bought GPS-app developer EveryTrail and mapping vendor Where I’ve Been before being spun off from its parent, Expedia. Quadriga acquired pay-TV specialist SmoovieTV and Los Angeles-based NxSystems, intending to use the latter’s NXTV brand as the basis for its entry to the Americas market.

Guest services

Integrated guestroom services continued to gain ground. Intelity had a banner year with its ICE product winning HTNG’s 2010 Most Innovative Hospitality Award and being implemented by many properties, including the Plaza Hotel, JW Marriott Indianapolis Downtown, Mondrian Soho, Hotel Beaux Arts, Miami, Eccleston Square Hotel, four Chicago hotels and the Hilton Inn at Penn, Morgan’s Delano in Miami and Hudson in New York, the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills and the Dorchester Collection’s Hotel Bel-Air, and its first properties in Asia (L Resort Krabi, Thailand ) and South America (three Hoteles Charleston Colombia). Runtriz was adopted by The Westin Riverfront Resort Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain and the Hôtel Americano in New York. Roomlinx was adopted by Prime Group’s new 610-room Chicago property and the 216-room Holiday Inn Resort Orlando – The Castle. iRiS unveiled its Personal Valet Application for iPads and smart phones, ZDirect’s Mobile Passport offered guest services via smart phones, and SuiteLinq interfaced with MTech’s HotSOS for fulfillment of guest requests. KoolConnect announced that its implementations in the first nine months of 2011 significantly exceeded those of any previous full year, and introduced its 1Connect concept covering FTG TV, HSIA, TVs, iPad/mobile apps, network services, digital signage, single-remote control, PVRs and more.
WiFi became an even more essential service; although the cost of providing ever-increasing bandwidth to meet guests’ demands is significant, an iPass survey indicated that hotels may very well lose business travelers through bad Wi-Fi offerings. iBAHN launched dynamic Bandwidth Management to help hotels provide tiered pricing for different service levels. Swisscom’s ConnectedHotel TV/digital services platform gained several new clients, as did iBAHN’s IPTV application (ETVi).
Digital display boards expanded their functionality; JANUS added boarding pass printing to its Concierge Board touch screen display, enabled an interface to guests’ and meeting coordinators’ tablets, and released motion-triggered signage using a Kinect device. Courtyard unveiled version 4.0 of its GoBoard digital lobby display, developed in partnership with Four Winds Interactive and expanding the range of interactive guest services offered.

Inventory/procurement

Keeping an eye on cost controls, many hotels implemented inventory/procurement systems. Wyndham Worldwide deployed Adaco’s .NET system enterprise-wide, the Imperial Treasure Restaurant Group picked Eatec for 13 locations in Singapore, and relative newcomer Yellow Dog Software found success with five independent clients.

Energy management

Energy management seems to be keeping up its slow but steady growth levels, with some interesting developments. The Peabody Orlando, for example, integrated HotSOS with Control Green guestroom monitoring to pro-actively deal with rooms running at less than optimal efficiency, and both Encelium Technologies and Verve introduced new low-voltage occupancy sensors, the latter being self-powered. Telkonet’s SmartEnergy platform was adopted by the Springhill Suites Las Vegas and Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhattan. The Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa installed INNCOM’s Deep Mesh Network, and the Atlanta Marriott Marquis installed Inncom Guestroom Occupancy Sensors in all 1,569 guestrooms.
Overall, a surprising amount of progress was made in what turned out to be a much more difficult year than most in the industry had hoped for. We’re not out of the woods yet, but my sense is that last year’s optimism that “this year will be different” has been replaced by a much more solidly-based and confident “we’re going to make this year different.” I think the industry has turned a corner, and we’ll see many more systems and technology developments and upgrades than in recent times. One thing’s certain, though; we’ll all need more WiFi bandwidth!
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OpenTravel announced the publication of version 2011B of the OpenTravel specification, which include a new Hotels schema that covers Disability issues. This focuses on a subset of 2012 ADA legislation applying to electronic hotel reservations, and includes identifying and describing accessible features, reserving accessible guest rooms or specific types of guest rooms, ensuring that the guest rooms requested are blocked and removed from all reservations systems and guaranteeing the specific accessible guest room.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Anupama Dasgupta hired by eRevMax International as Vice President-HR
  • Erin Hannigan, Laura Hopkins join Guest-tek as Regional Sales Managers
  • Shawn O’Connell is new Vice President, National Accounts at Guest-tek

Ms. Anupama Dasgupta has been hired by eRevMax International as Vice President-HR, to lead its Indian and international expansion plans. She brings 14 years of experience, most recently heading the HR function at The Chatterjee Group’s SkyTECH Solutions division, and had earlier served eight years managing corporate HR responsibilities for ABP Pvt. Ltd., a major Indian media house.
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Guest-tek Interactive has hired three new sales executives:
– Erin Hannigan joins as Regional Sales Manager, based in Calgary; she was previously with STR (Smith Travel Research), responsible performance benchmarking data in the Canadian independent hotel market and in northern US independent properties.
– Laura Hopkins also joins as a Regional Sales Manager, bringing seven years experience with StayOnline (as a Director of Major Accounts) and subsequently as National Account Manager at Mitel specialist MIS Associates.
– Shawn O’Connell is the new Vice President, National Accounts. He was most recently Vice President of Strategic Accounts for PSAV Presentation Services where he served eight years. Prior to PSAV, Mr. O’Connell worked for PurchasePro, Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Micros/Fidelio; he started his career working for Delta Hotels in Canada.
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GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Design Hotels names protel as a partner software provider
  • Hetras releases interface with EZYield

Berlin-based Design Hotels AG has designated protel hotelsoftware GmbH as a “partner software provider,” offering portels guest management ofatware at discounted rates to its affiliated properties, which include more than 200 independent hotels world-wide. (www.DesignHotels.com, www.protel.net)
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Hetras has released a certified interface for its guest management system with EZYield’s Fuzionlink channel management and Fuzionsync reservation delivery software. The interface is live in three citizenM properties. (www.ezyield.com, www.hetras.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Amadeus launches Hotel Optimisation Package
  • St Giles Hotels contracts with Open Hospitality for internet reservation services for two London hotels
  • Ctrip.com contracts with Pegasus for Global Commission Processing
  • Pegasus, NIIT Technologies release RezView Mobile application for Apple and Android
  • Ubook announces package of Web-based applications
  • Desires Hotels chooses Whiteboard Labs’ Windsurfer CRS
  • Egencia acquires French developer Traveldoo
  • Premier Hotels of the World adds Availpro to its GMS/POS Connect Suite
  • Nikki Beach Hotels and Resorts selects Xn Hotel Systems’ globalRES
  • Travel Tripper certifies RezTrip 2.0 two-way interface with Micros Opera
  • ACHAT Hotels switches 27 properties to Sabre’s SynXis CRS
  • Centric Hospitality switches CARINO Hotels and Resorts to its own myCRS
  • Centric releases version myCRS 2.3.6, launches StayCredits Alliance loyalty program

Amadeus has launched its Hotel Optimisation Package, a set of services and technologies for large travel agencies and travel management companies (TMCs) that is focused on Profit Optimisation (for more efficient management of global hotel programs) and Content Optimisation. Modules include:
– Amadeus Hotel Dynamic Saver, a multi-GDS Business Intelligence tool to help maintain high savings standards and ensure hotel contract compliance. Key capabilities include Last Room Availability, identification of rate squatters and automatic future comparison of negotiated vs. public rates to ensure buyers get the best deal at all times.
– Amadeus LinkHotel, a customized service for the simple integration of specific hotels requested by travel agencies and their corporate customers but which are currently not bookable on the GDS.
– A tool to drive contract compliance by driving smarter booking behavior at the point of sale.
(www.amadeus.com.)
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St Giles Hotels of London has contracted with Pegasus Solutions’ Open Hospitality for internet reservation services for its two London hotels, the 705-room Central London property and the 303-room Heathrow hotel. Open Hospitality has also designed websites for St Giles New York – The Tuscany and St Giles New York – The Court.
China’s Ctrip.com has contracted with Pegasus Solutions for Global Commission Processing. With over 40,000 hotels worldwide, Ctrip claims to be the world’s third largest online travel agency (OTA) and the largest OTA in the ASPAC market.
Pegasus Solutions and its Indian development partner NIIT Technologies have released Pegasus’ RezView Mobile application in both Apple and Android app stores. The app is configurable to meet Pegasus’ hotel customers’ branding and display requirements.
(www.StGiles.com, Ctrip.com, www.niit-tech.com, www.openhospitality.com, www.pegs.com)
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Singapore-based Ubook has announced a package of Web-based applications, including a Website booking engine. Key features include multiple languages, multiple room bookings and email alerts of significant system changes; options include flexi and dynamic packages booking. (ww.ubooksystem.com)
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Desires Hotels has chosen Whiteboard Labs’ Windsurfer CRS for electronic distribution, GDS connectivity, Internet Booking Engines for the hotel sites and Desires’ Portal site, as well as call center services through Guest Direct using the Windsurfer call center interface. Desires Hotels, a division of Trust Hospitality, is a collection of independently created boutique hotels. (www.desireshotels.com, www.whiteboardlabs.com)
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Expedia’s Egencia division has acquired Traveldoo, a French developer of Web and mobile platforms for business travel management.  Traveldoo’s tools are designed to simplify travel planning and booking, help centralize travel data, optimize travel spend, improve risk and crisis management and simplify business travelers’ and travel arrangers’ lives. (www.traveldoo.com, www.egencia.co.uk)
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Premier Hotels of the World has partnered with Availpro, adding its Internet Booking Engines (Web based, Mobile and Facebook), Smart Channel Manager, Rate Screener and Guest Satisfaction tools to the GMS and POS applications of Premier’s Connect Suite. (www.premierhotelsworld.com, www.availpro.com)
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Nikki Beach Hotels and Resorts has selected Xn Hotel Systems’ globalRES for distribution services to online channels, GDS and IDSs and for its web booking engine. Nikki Beach’s first installation will take place in 2012 with the opening of 47 villa and spa suites in Qatar, including an Xn globalRES two-way interface to its protel Hotelsoftware guest management system. (www.nikkibeachhotels.com, www.xnhotels.com)
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Travel Tripper announced that its RezTrip 2.0 reservations system has been certified by Micros for a two-way interface with the Opera GMS, to help hotels manage RezTrip rates and availability through Opera and receive reservations directly into Opera. (www.micros.com, www.traveltripper.com)
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Germany’s ACHAT Hotels has switched its 27 properties to Sabre Hospitality Solutions’ SynXis CRS. (www.achat-hotels.com, www.sabrehospitality.com)
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Centric Hospitality Group has switched its CARINO Hotels and Resorts Worldwide properties to its own myCRS system, with two-way guest management system integration and OTA direct connects.
Centric Hospitality has released version 2.3.6 of its myCRS system, and has launched its StayCredits Alliance loyalty program for independent hotels and groups. Hotels joining the StayCredits Alliance become one of many reward stay options worldwide; credits can be allocated as they choose, while StayCredits members may redeem points at any other participating Alliance hotel.
Centric now has over 1,900 hotels in its three brands: InnPoints Worldwide, CARINO Hotels and Resorts Worldwide and Qube Hotels.
(www.staycredits.com, www.centrichospitality.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Radisson Suites Tucson signs for The Knowland Group’s Target Net
  • TripAlertz Travel Solutions launches free-to-hotels Deal Distribution System
  • Worldhotels to offer Serenata @mail to its nearly 500 hotel members
  • Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Plc selects MindTree to design, build and manage new global e-commerce site
  • VIZERGY has received a Leader Award from Summit International’s Emerging Media Awards
  • HeBS Digital receives Best in Class website design Award from Interactive Media

The Radisson Suites Tucson has signed for The Knowland Group’s Target Net sales force automation and meetings management platform. (www.radisson.com, www.KnowlandGroup.com)
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TripAlertz Travel Solutions has launched its Deal Distribution System (DDS), an automated, free-to-use way for hoteliers to sell excess inventory to a private network of more than 20 million global customers. Properties can customize DDS by distribution regions of the world, on-destination add-ons to disguise the ADR offered, and flash-sale offer windows to drive bookings to shoulder, off-seasons and other weaker occupancy windows.  Other distribution options offered include Travelzoo Top 20 listings for appropriate deals, targeted affiliate publisher networks, SEO/ SEM /CPC and more, all at no expense to the participating hotels and resorts. In appropriate situations DDS will offer opaque offers which show only the location and quality / amenities.  Free to use, the DDS offers no up-front marketing costs to registered and approved suppliers. (www.tripalertz.com/suppliers)
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Worldhotels has signed with Serenata IntraWare to offer Serenata @mail to its nearly 500 hotels, allowing them to send all guest correspondence as custom HTML documents via email directly from their guest management systems. This enables dynamic reservation confirmations, pre-arrival offers with upgrade functions and post-stay emails with built-in guest feedback management. Serenata @mail does not require additional interfaces to the GMS or CRS. (worldhotels.com, www.serenata.com)
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Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Plc has selected MindTree to design, build and manage a new global e-commerce site to improve its customers’ service experience and increase revenues through e-channels. (www.millenniumhotels.co.uk, www.mindtree.com)
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VIZERGY has received a Leader Award from Summit International’s Emerging Media Awards for its website for the newly independent Sugar Bay Resort & Spa in St. Thomas, VI (formerly under a Wyndham flag).  (www.vizergy.com)
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HeBS Digital has received the Best in Class Award from Interactive Media for its website design for the Urban American Grill Austin restaurant, its 30th creative award for the year. (www.HeBSdigital.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Mirador in Mumbai picks IDeaS
  • Accor picks RateGain for Motel 6/Studio 6 brands

Accor N.A. has selected RateGain’s PriceGain rate intelligence solution to provide up-to-date, detailed rate comparisons for its corporate revenue management department in charge of Motel 6 and Studio 6. (accor-na.com, www.rategain.com)
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The 103-room Mirador in Mumbai has selected IDeaS Revenue Management System. (www.themirador.com, www.ideas.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Sabre plans to integrate Glowpoint’s OpenVideo cloud into Sabre Virtual Meetings
  • Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort  now offers PSAV’s Express mobile app

Sabre Travel Network has announced plans to integrate Glowpoint’s OpenVideo cloud into Sabre Virtual Meetings, to provide users with videoconferencing services such as video bridging, helpdesk and concierge services, and business to business calling. Sabre and Glowpoint will also develop 24/7 remote monitoring and management services for videoconferencing rooms available through Sabre Virtual Meetings. (www.glowpoint.com, www.sabre.com)
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Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort  now offers PSAV Presentation Services’ Express App to its meeting planners and event delegates. The mobile app lets meeting attendees access event data such as the conference agenda, speaker listing, event sponsors, a virtual property map and a listing of offsite venues. To help introduce the Express App, PSAV provided 100 iPod Touch devices pre-loaded with the event app for a Hyatt Hotels & Resorts regional Familiarization (FAM) Trip. (www.hyattregencylaketahoe.com, www.psav.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Accor North America deploys Meraki WiFi across 620 Motel 6/Studio 6 properties in five months
  • Nordic Sea Hotel, Stockholm completes Philips’ first implementation of MediaSuite TVs
  • Swisscom receives international 2011 Gigaton Award/telecommunications category at World Climate Summit
  • Aloft Hotel Charlotte Ballantyne testing holographic concierge with QR codes for information and offers
  • ezRez acquires Topguest
  • Quadriga launches Sensiq Edition entry level version
  • Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago, implements Intelity’s ICE
  • Custom Hotel, Los Angeles installs Flyte Systems’ FlyteBoard

Accor North America has completed its deployment of Meraki WiFi service across all its Motel 6 and Studio 6 properties. The deployment covers nearly 10,000 access points at 620 properties, representing one of the world’s largest WiFi installations and the largest cloud managed wireless LAN on record. The nationwide rollout was completed in five months. (www.motel6.com, meraki.com)
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The 367-room Nordic Sea Hotel in Stockholm has completed Philips’ first implementation of its MediaSuite TVs, with access to multiple services that include international channels, YouTube, catch-up TV and the Web, news services, local weather forecasts, city information, Facebook and Twitter. The MediaSuite automatically deletes all user data as soon as the TV switches to standby mode. (www.nordicseahotel.se/en/, www.philips.com/hoteltv)
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Swisscom received the international 2011 Gigaton Award/telecommunications category at the World Climate Summit in Durban in recognition of its long-term, comprehensive efforts in the areas of sustainability and climate protection. Swisscom covers all its power needs through renewable energy as part of its goals for increasing energy efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions. Swisscom range of green ICTsolutions also help hoteliers reduce their power consumption and CO2 emissions through the use of connected TV technology, video conferencing, remote network management and the procurement of IT services from energy-efficient data centers. (www.swisscom.com/hospitality)
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The Aloft Hotel Charlotte Ballantyne is testing a holographic concierge, with QR codes that guests can with their smart phones for access to information and offers from local businesses. The holographic image is projected onto a life-sized cut-out of a person in the hotel lobby, with green QR codes for contact information, reservation information and directions and red QR codes for discounts and special offers. The holographic concierge also presents high-definition images of plates of food or products, “enhanced with the use of smell via AromaFusion technology.” (www.theballantynehotel.com)
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ezRez has acquired Topguest, which helps users earn loyalty points on Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram and Twitter from check-ins, photos and updates. Topguest will continue to operate under its current branding, though the team will relocate to ezRez’s San Francisco headquarters. (www.topguest.com, www.ezrez.com)
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Quadriga has launched Sensiq Edition, an entry level version of its guest communications application compatible with all major TV brands including Philips, Samsung and LG, and offering hotels a technology upgrade path over both Coax and Cat 5 networks. Sensiq helps hoteliers promote their property and services to guests and provide direct and indirect revenue opportunities, and can be bundled with an optional competitively priced internet offering. (www.quadriga.com)
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The 334-room Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago, the first Radisson Blu branded property to open in the U.S., has implemented Intelity’s ICE (Interactive Customer Experience). (www.radissonblu.com/aquahotel-chicago, www.intelitycorp.com)
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The 250-room Custom Hotel in Los Angeles installed Flyte Systems’ FlyteBoard airline arrival and departure display. (www.customhotel.com, www.flytesystems.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • Statler Hotel to install InvoTech’s GIMS uniform tracking

The Statler Hotel on Cornell University’s campus will install InvoTech Systems’ GIMS UHF-RFID uniform tracking and White Conveyor’s automated U-Pick-It uniform delivery system. (www.statlerhotel.cornell.edu, www.invotech.com)
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INVENTORY/PURCHASING

  • Resort at Squaw Creek selects Yellow Dog

The Resort at Squaw Creek has selected Yellow Dog Software’s back office inventory solution to manage the resort’s warehouse and five retail operations.  The resort went live with the complete inventory solution in November 2011.  (www.squawcreek.com , www.yellowdogsoftware.com)
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ENGINEERING

  • Hilton Concord Hotel incorporating environmental and sustainable systems into renovation
  • Hilton Worldwide approves Telkonet’s EcoSmart system for franchisees’ Suppliers’ Connection

The Hilton Concord Hotel, near San Francisco, is incorporating environmental and sustainable systems into its renovation, due to be completed in early 2012. The hotel is owned and operated by Interstate Hotels & Resorts. Specific waste and energy reduction programs include:
– Recycling of paper, glass, aluminum, metal, plastics, cardboard, paperboard, batteries, electronics, light bulbs, cooking oil/grease, toner/ink cartridges, newsprint, and magazines.
– Lower Temperature Dishwashers using eco-friendly disinfectants, consuming less water and less natural gas.
– Pillow-Vac renovation system to reduce wasteful disposal of older pillows.
– Eco-Safe Digester to convert food waste into liquid, reducing its contribution of food waste into landfills.
– Water Conservation via TOTO Eco 1.28 gallon flush toilets in guest bathrooms, well irrigation for external landscaping and an ozone laundry system that uses less total water.
– Lighting Efficiency through conversion of a significant portion of lighting in guestrooms and public spaces from standard CFL lighting to LED bulbs and high efficiency fluorescent lighting.
Hilton Worldwide has approved Telkonet’s EcoSmart system for listing in its online franchisees’ Suppliers’ Connection.
(www.Concord.Hilton.com, www.hilton.com, www.telkonet.com)
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